23rd March 2019

The post-Pulwama events have undoubtedly lead to a surge of a patriotism wave across the country. But the reality is, it is the nature of a wave to fade away eventually and ebb. The question thus lying is where shall India and Indians stand months from now when the Post-Pulwama effect would have faded and I would have no reason to be a Patriot.

The recent collection of events has miraculously created an immediate sense of unity within Indians but this has made Indians intolerant towards indifference. Reason, consent and rational thinking become impossible in such a situation.

Even now, amidst Kashmiris are victims of shelling across the Line Of Control; people are obliged to show their loyalty! Thus people demand war without understanding the grave consequences. Sacrifice is talked about, but that of soldiers fighting on the border. Kashmiris become victims of mob-lynching in various educational institutes. A person loses his livelihood because his bakery is destroyed to ruins; only since it was named after Pakistani district of Karachi!

And why? Because we Indians are being patriotic. We forget the difference between patriotism and jingoism and begin to believe that doubts in a democratic nation become anti-national thoughts!

What we forget is that we also hold higher identity and responsibility greater than being Indian. Being an Indian demands realisation that even before we are entitled to our country we belong to a larger civilisation: the Indian Civilisation.

A civilisation that had existed for thousands of years, a civilisation that has given and taught the world some of the most important ideals of peace, harmony and universal brotherhood. The values taught by Lord Buddha, Vardhaman Mahavir, Guru Nanak, Mahatma Gandhi, Abdul Gaffar Khan and many more. But living in this jingostan we forget to carry this testament, to know that our ancestors have already taught us the answers to various disputes. One tries to opt for policies of Capitalist America. And one may stand as a rich, prosperous nation in the near future. But what worth is the rich material future when the core, raw values are lost while pretending to be someone else.

The Inquilabi Bhagat Singh had once said: “A man may die but his thoughts shall live for eternity”. But today even if these great people live with us as idols; we have left their values and ideas far behind.

The reality is we know very less about Bhagat Singh. What we are taught is: ‘he was a revolutionary who gave up his life at the age of 23’. But the reality is far from this! Bhagat Singh is indeed regarded as a young revolutionary who was far ahead of his time. At the age of twenty-three he had developed innovative ideas of socialist democracy.

The noteworthy warning he gave in a speech includes these very words: “gore angrezon se to azadi mil payegi; par badme kale angrezo ke gulam ban jaoge”. He intended to talk about the very condition we are facing today: Why does India have businessmen who have income twice that of the government’s accounts and young children who die of hunger within the age of five years? The reality is that India doesn’t have a real problem of poorness. Because if it did, few businessmen would not hold such rich accounts. The problem lies in income distribution. The trodden will suffer not because they are poor but because we, the ones with resources refuse the natural flow i.e ‘from higher concentration to lower concentration.”

“Bomb and pistol don’t make revolution. The sword of revolution is sharpened on the whetting-stone of ideas”, quoted Bhagat Singh. Many of us see him as an Ideal. We respect the architect of modern India: Dr. Ambedkar for his great vision and idealise peace sentiments of the Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.

The thing is “let us see truth as truth and untruth as untruth”. What happens when someone questions The Authority or Government just like Bhagat Singh had risen against Britishers, even after being held as a terrorist? Do we treat someone like this with real respect for having the guts to be Bhagat Singh or hold him/her as an anti-nationalist under the act of sedition? How gladly do we welcome opposition in democratic India? How sanely do we live in the present without blaming a leader from the past as an excuse!

The thing we keep forgetting is “it is democracy to agree to disagree”

We, young Indians, finely take part in global issues like racism, global warming, terrorism, umm Trump’s tyranny to say! Meanwhile, we are a complete failure while understanding and addressing local issues like manual scavenging.

The irony is that many of us don’t even know what manual scavenging is. This is because we have an ideal democratic nation pictured in front of us while living our elite lives.

Even today, a single person is forced to clean 60,000 litres of human and animal waste in the fastest growing economy only because he is a Dalit and is considered untouchable.

Over 600 manual scavengers die every year. And surprisingly this rate is 10 times the number of soldiers killed by terrorists.

So are we Indians only patriotic when lives of soldiers are at stake and when external peace is challenged? Why are we still unaware that amidst the so called internal peace 600 people are murdered every year because of social conditions we have forced them into?

Let us see this clearly:

I do agree it wasn’t your choice to be well privileged; that you will never go to bed on a hungry stomach!
It wasn’t my choice that I am born in a financially stable family.
And it isn’t our choice that we live in Maharashtra and not Kashmir!

BUT TOGETHER IT CAN BE MY CHOICE, YOUR CHOICE AND OUR CHOICE THAT WE CHOOSE ON WHICH SIDES OF JUSTICE WE WANT TO FIGHT ON.

Let us not just admire the great personalities and their ideas; only limited as words. But let us try to learn what these ideas really mean. Let us try to live by them.
Physics is relative; ETHICS IS NOT!
Let us swear to live by Democratic Ethics.

Sumedhraj Dhaware, Ferguson Junior College, Pune

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